New Theme in Trump Stories: Mentions of the 'I-Word'
Talk of impeachment circulates, even as most say there's almost no chance
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2017 11:03 AM CDT
President Trump walks off Air Force One at Groton-New London Airport in Groton, Conn., on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – President Trump's latest troubles have even Republicans such as John McCain drawing comparisons to Watergate. An assessment at NPR notes that the "'I' word is creeping its way into the mainstream," but the piece emphasizes, twice, that the chance of a GOP-controlled Senate impeaching Trump is somewhere around zero. A look at what others are saying:

  • Testing the waters: In what it sees as a "significant development," McClatchy reports that Democrats are poised to start polling to gauge sentiment. Their fear is that making a public push to impeach Trump may backfire in the long run.
  • "Hushed" chatter: Politico's Playbook blog says the GOP chatter on Capitol Hill in the wake of the new Comey reports is "hushed" but unmistakable. "That's not to say President Donald Trump will be impeached, but the prospect is beginning to creep into Republicans' minds, and it's noteworthy that they are not ruling it out."
  • Not so hushed: Rep. Justin Amash became the first Republican in Congress to publicly broach the idea Wednesday, reports the Hill. Asked if what Comey said was true would merit impeachment, he responded simply, "Yes." On the Democratic side, Rep. Al Green of Texas called for Trump's impeachment on the House floor Wednesday, reports the Week.
  • Nope: Law professor Jonathan Turley assesses the Comey allegations and finds zilch in them to support impeachment. "There are dozens of different variations of obstruction charges ranging from threatening witnesses to influencing jurors," he writes in the Hill. "None would fit this case." As for the broader charge of Trump trying to interfere with the "due administration of justice," that would hinge on the dicey prospect of proving that Trump intended to influence "corruptly."

  • Deep breath: "Take a few steps back, America," advises John Kass at the Chicago Tribune. "Get yourself a pocket copy of the Constitution and hold on." He sees one big issue with the Comey story: We haven't actually seen the supposedly damning memo. So until then, or until Comey testifies under oath about his conversations with Trump, "we just don't know."
  • Two to watch: The president's fate really lies with House leader Paul Ryan and Senate leader Mitch McConnell, writes Dylan Matthews at Vox. As long as they don't turn on Trump, he's safe.
  • Trump's strategy: Expect him to keep "stoking his base," predicts a post at Axios. Lawmakers will be leery of bucking him if he stays popular in their districts. "It's his most basic survival strategy—and it's another reason he won't change." In the meantime, the Trump campaign is fundraising with an email that has "SABOTAGE" as a subject line, notes Slate.
  • The 25th? In the New York Times, conservative columnist Ross Douthat doesn't think impeachment fits and instead floats the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment. That allows the removal of a president if the majority of his Cabinet tells Congress he is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." A two-thirds vote by Congress would follow if the president contests. Based on the daily comments about Trump from his inner circle in the press, Douthat thinks it's a possibility.
  • The bookies: Bookmakers say the odds of a Trump impeachment have jumped in the last week, and MarketWatch has the details.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
7%
20%
7%
14%
7%
44%